Mrs. Melanie Walters
1 September 2014
Only a few are enlightened but not all of those make the best leaders. These people do not necessarily need to be wealthy to be enlightened as Aristotle claims. “..There is another thing which is likely, or rather a necessary inference from what has preceded, that neither the uneducated and uniformed of the truth, nor yet those who never make an end of their education, will be ministers of the State” (Plato 297). Plato regards the best government as one headed by the best people; while he does not make a class distinction, he does say to be a good leader one must be enlightened. One can easily infer only the wealthy (the ones who can have enough money to pay for teachers) have the opportunity to see reality. But, just wealth is not a qualification to be enlightened. Aristotle, on the other hand, made it evident that the aristocrats, or the upper classes, are the best people to lead. He explains this by saying, “…for that only can be rightly called aristocracy which is a government formed of the best men absolutely, and not merely of men who are good when tried by any given standard” (Aristotle 69). Aristotle claims only certain men who are born into a specific class make the best leaders. He defines aristocrats as the best people in the society, and therefore, the best people qualified to lead. “… it is clear that the admixture of the two elements, that is to say, of the rich and poor, is to be called a polity or constitutional government; and the union of the three is to be called aristocracy or the government of the best, and more than any other form of government, except the true and ideal, has a right to this name (Aristotle 70).”
Aristotle and Plato were correct in saying the enlightened make the best type of leaders but mistaken in thinking only a certain class of people could create such leaders. The best leaders are not produced from the upper class completely. More leaders come from the higher classes, but to say the best leaders are only allowed to come from upper classes is untrue. Aristotle makes the connection that aristocrats are the best leaders, but not everyone is capable of leading just because of their stature. For example, in the Allegory of the Cave Plato says “ and they have been severed from those sensual pleasures, such as eating and drinking, which, like leaden weights, were attached to them at their birth, and which drag them down and turn the vision of their souls upon the things that are below- if, I say, they have been released from these impediments and turned in the opposite direction, the very same faculty in them would have seen the truth as keenly as they see what their eyes are turned to now” ( Plato 873). Plato makes the point that any person can be enlightened and shown reality, as long as they open their eyes. The best leaders are not just born into a certain class, but they also should pose the qualities of being enlightened, well educated, selfless, and honest.
In our society most leaders are born into prosperous families. For instance, Ronald Reagan is said to be one of the most impacting presidents in American history. Reagan not only built a fierce opposition to the…